A new Prince George's County landfill, which the U.S. government charges is environmentally harmful to the adjacent Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, will remain open, at least temporarily, under an agreement reached in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
County and state officials and the Bevard landfill operators have agreed to provide additional environmental controls and monitoring procedures designed to prevent surface water runoff to the wildlife center, northwest of Bowie.
In exchange, U.S. officials have agreed to not to seek a court order to close the landfill immediately. But at future hearings the government plans to press for an order that would permanently close the landfill, adjacent to the 4,200-acre wildlife center.
The U.S. government charged in its lawsuit that the landfill, opened last May, will attract seagulls and other birds that feed on refuse, that these birds will then visit the ponds in the wildlife center and "greatly increase the probability that disease would be spread to the endangered species" that inhabit the center.
The center is the principal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility for wildlife research in the eastern United States and is the home for eight endangered birds and mammals, including bald eagles and whooping cranes, according to the lawsuit.